Tuesday, July 22, 2008

ChMS - Excellerate

If you haven't already, you MUST read the summary of what we are looking for. This is critical to understand my comments. The vendors being reviewed work hard to provide a good product to serve the church, and they should be commended for that. Our needs are very specific, and just because a product isn't right for us does not mean that it isn't perfect for your church. By the same token, just because we didn't like a product does not mean it doesn't meet needs or provide genuine value to its clients. The blurb and "target market" are taken from the capterra list I referenced in my first post. Finally, my thoughts are my own and not an official position of my employer. Thank you.

Micro System Design - Excellerate
Store data regarding your small groups, members, counseling, classes, organizations, follow-up, and contributions.
Target Market: Small - Large
Quick Summary - Further Consideration

Level 2 Analysis:

How big? - 4 people
How many customers? - 1050
How long in business? - 1997 in CMS
Are they profitable? - I’m guessing yes.
Technical Details - Windows software, perl for web integration, Access Jet (ugh!)

Volunteer Management - Seems decent, but no accountability
Web Integration - It looks ok, some users have called it poor
Attendance - Quick attendance screen or barcode
Assimilation - It seems focused on pushing people through programs.

Level 2 Summary - This is in many ways what I want, a local app with web integration, but it doesn’t appear to fit the bill. First off it’s a windows app and it has that incredibly ugly gray look of windows database apps. It seems that a lot of the features are the same basic database form with a different field set. Does not appear to offer the accountability we need to manage a group of volunteers who are contacting members and such. Contact forms have overly simplistic answers for response, leading to useless information. One (user’s) site claims it is written in Access which is definitely not an enterprise level RDBMS. I like some things about excellerate, but it is clearly not the right solution for us.

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